Thursday, November 29, 2012

Be Active On Forums

I will admit when I first started crunching I was a little stir crazy, I didn't quite find my "calling" yet so to speak.  In fact for someone viewing my stats, it looks like I crunched a little of almost everything for awhile, and I admit it certainly felt that way.  While being a mathematician, at first I felt I should crunch mathematics based projects, but upon a bit of an epiphany I realized, I am already devoting so much of my efforts to math outside of my distributed computing efforts, I realized I wanted to seek out ways to contribute to other branches of science or medicine in a way that would likely not happen with mathematics ( or at least no where near as quickly with mathematics).

Once I really started to pin down projects I wanted to work on, I realized it was time to learn a bit more of what is going on behind the scenes at these projects.  As such the forums are the best place to turn.  I have had a great time reading and participating to what limited extent I can in both the World Community Grid Forum, and the GPU Grid forum.

It is honestly incredible what we can learn from others, such as on the GPU grid forum, I have learned a decent bit about the construction of video cards, and how you can trouble shoot cards in various fashions.  In fact I have not tried this myself yet, but I have found out with a minimal performance hit, reducing the clock speed on parts of your GPU cards memory, can save you slightly on the energy consumption of your machine.

These sorts of tips are great to learn, while I am not sure if I am going to try reducing the clock speed on my GPUs memory, because I sort of have a mentality if its not broke don't fix it, and from people posting the results of their energy consumption, and it seems the energy benefits might not quite be enough to make it worth it, i.e same % reduction in energy use, as % hit to computing power.

Either way forums offer great tips, and are a way to tap all sorts of knowledge from such a wide variety of people.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Define Device Profiles

I have recently realised the full importance of defining device profiles for each device you run.  Especially when the projects themselves allow you to set the specs with the project which over rides anything you have set with boinc on your machine.  Though the only project I have really ever see do that is World Community Grid.

I honestly do not remember if I set the default profile for World Community grid, other then specifying the projects I wished to crunch, or if it read the boinc settings on my main machine and used that.  Either way I have 3 different computers with 3 very different concerns, and it wasn't until looking at ways to consider optimizing them, that I realized the issues I had.

First my oldest computer, a laptop that has been on its last legs for 3 years now ( the energizer laptop).  After reinstating it as a WCG only machine with reduced settings, a few months after I posted I was retiring it, I watched after it downloaded a Clean Energy project that should have only taken 14 hours to complete, but things got fishy after it had been running for 20 or so hours one week.  I realized due to it being shut down at night, and stopped and started for other reasons, that it was a computer like this that they post the notice about system requirements about for the Clean Energy Project.  With checkpoints few and far between ( not sure there really are any), even leaving it running for 4 or so hours at a time might not result in a check point, causing all such data to be lost upon shutdown.  So that was my first test ride.

Secondly the Work horse the tower that has next to no other demands on its processor and gpu 90% of the time, and left to crunch away happily, combined with the fact that it is a tower, it remains quite cool.  This one was suffering far to much being restricted to the level of the others, and upon watching it for some time yesterday and today, I realized somehow the settings were rewritten according to the profile that was my Default for WCG.  Quickly solved by a  new device profile, set to Maximum power.  (Lets see how this works in a few days).

Lastly the machine with so many heat issues its not even funny, my main laptop, so this one I need to constantly toy with, and while it has undeniably the most powerful CPU of the three, the heat issues lead me to throttle its crunching power, just so I don't fry all sorts of components.

So far my experience with these device profiles is rather nice.  I am not sure if WCG limits you to four profiles ( Default, Home, Work, School), but should I need to I will look into finding a way to name your own profiles, and set your own settings. 

Happy crunching and keep on processing away!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Happy 8 years to World Community Grid!

I have almost exclusively been dedicating my CPU's to World Community Grid for the past month now.  Why?  It offers a large variety of projects run by very impressive teams, with potentially profound implications to the sustainability, and over all living conditions of our planet. 

While this post is a little early, their official birthday is November 16th, I would just like to encourage anyone that is not already on their bandwagon so to speak to consider it.  I have also found the World Community grid has possibly the best/ most outstanding group of people both crunching, and supporting the projects.  I visit a few projects forums, but I have no where near as much fun, nor spend anywhere near as much time on any other forum as I do with World Community Grid.

While I am a little sad that their only GPU enabled project supports Windows only, I am glad to say that they are really going in the right direction as several months ago, they had 0 supported GPU projects.

I hope everyone finds some time to crunch a few World Community Grid projects this Month, if not for their birthday, then consider it as a way to give thanks!  ( My American Readers may understand that comment a bit more).

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